Shining some light on a dark situation
I was close to finishing the latest book I was reading — “The Giver of Stars” by Jojo Moyes.
It’s set in Depression-era Kentucky where a band of women travel Appalachia on horseback to deliver books, and it’s based on the Pack Horse Library initiative, which was implemented by the Works Progress Administration.
It’s one of those books with engaging characters and twist-and-turn events — a book you want to finish because you can’t wait to find out how everything turns out and what happens to all the people in it who have become part of your life if only temporarily until the next book.
I was engrossed in the last chapter, sitting not far from Better Half, who was equally engrossed, not in what was in any book but what was on the TV screen since he was watching the Olympics — swimming competitions this particular evening. He was actually multitasking, working a crossword puzzle during commercials.
Suddenly, everything went dark.
Now not that this was our first power outage experience, mind you, but any time the electric goes off for whatever reason, we’re in major disbelief — shocked and surprised that no electric have we in the year 2021.
We sat there in silence — and darkness — but only briefly, because we have a certain Kiaski protocol we follow under such circumstances.
First, we express our displeasure amongst ourselves. A big old we-got-no-power pity party.
We wail and whine, sigh and seethe.
Next comes denial.
Surely, there’s really power somewhere in this house, we try to convince/assure each other. One of us or both of us start flipping switches to no avail. This happens multiple times, as we are unwilling to accept lightless reality.
The TV remote on-off switch gets a try once or twice or more.
Repeat the wail and whine, sigh and seethe part.
All this precedes what comes next — establishing if other people are as powerless as you. Can you be the only household suffering such inconvenience in modern-day society? Can we be the only ones trapped in this darkness?
“Check out Aunt Betty’s,” Better Half suggested, a directive that involves looking out a side window to see what’s happening next door and up the street.
“It’s everywhere,” I announced, feeling a little better that our misery is shared and electrical issues not limited to what Better Half semi-affectionately refers to as “the museum.”
I wonder why it is that humans desperately want to do things that require illumination — read, watch TV, do crossword puzzles — when they don’t have it?
I think it’s called missing what you have when you don’t have it.
Everything has an upside, though.
We managed to make our way without injury to the places in the house where we stash flashlights and candles.
The flashlights had batteries, and they actually worked.Imagine that.
The power came back on before very much time had passed. It just seemed like half an eternity.
And I finished the book — giving “The Giver of Stars” many stars.
It really “brightened” the evening.